I’m at the weird point in the summer when everyone else is at school while I’m at home preparing for departure. I’ve been surprisingly busy, though, because I’m getting ready for the year ahead. In fact, although I try not to pay money for online subscription services, I’m actually considering upgrading to Evernote Premium because I run out of Evernote space every month now.
But anyway, the summer’s basically over so here’s a life update! This’ll be a departure from the normal Morocco study-abroad post, but I guess it’s my last summer of being a normal American teenager so it’s nice to share what’s happened over the last few weeks.
I didn’t graduate, but it was a last moment to see the senior class all together. I’ve been going to school with them for three years so it’s crazy that they’re actually leaving.
NC Governor’s School West
Spending five-and-a-half weeks at GSW taught me that my town isn’t the center of the world, that you can learn so much by talking to people who are different from you, that we don’t realize how much privilege we really have, and that actually voicing unpopular opinions instead of keeping them hidden makes you really understand why other people don’t agree with you. We had lots of small optional seminars about topics from autism to education, and I really enjoyed those and learned a lot. And there’s also a class at GSW called Area III where we talk… about ourselves. Which sounds normal when you hear it for the first time, but in reality we’re extremely on the surface with everyone we know, and don’t talk about family, race, or religion at all unless we’re super close friends. I loved it a lot and I got to meet lots of interesting people. Over there, I definitely felt like I could take more risks, and I even submitted a piece about my experiences with diversity for their newspaper. It’s crazy that I wrote something with the intention that other people would read it.
Making some good food
Also, at GSW (and this is a success for me), I got the urge to make unhealthy pasta, aka a departure from the brown rice and vegetables that my family usually eat. I’d sometimes go out to eat with my friends. I got a pasta dish from a restaurant (it’s like… fettuccine in cream sauce with spinach and tomatoes), and it was super unhealthy but tasted so good that duplicating it was something I had to do. So I went home during mid-session break and tried to make it. Being the person I am, by the time I was halfway done I’d already made essentially a different dish b/c I swap ingredients like the plague, but… still! It was good. And it’s nice to cook without a recipe and just add whatever you want. If you scroll down you’ll see the pictures, and the two on the right are from my attempt. I used kale instead of spinach, and regular tomatoes instead of cherry, and I didn’t add any cream but instead made a béchamel, and I added bacon because my brother loves bacon… anyway.
Whenever I’d made béchamel in the past, it would clump up and get an icky texture… but this time I was less lazy and actually boiled the milk before adding it. My family never eats cheesy pasta because it’s unhealthy but they ate this… out of pity, maybe? Anyway, I think it was delicious af. Also I realized that kale tastes really good if you put lots of cheese on it.
After I came back from GSW on July 28th, my family and I left for Colorado for two weeks. We drove around Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, and camped in a few national parks. And we did a lot of hiking–we’d go anywhere from six to eleven miles every day. It was fun, sans the fact that my farmer’s tan has intensified by a lot.
I came back on the morning of August 10th from a Frontier Airlines red eye. I know that most people hate red-eye flights but I was actually super excited! The flights are a lot cheaper, and we were flying Frontier so it was already pretty inexpensive. And I loved being in the Denver airport since it’s a lot bigger than Raleigh-Durham. I did a lot of people-watching. I was tired the morning after, though, and I slept from 7AM-11AM when I got home.
And then to today
It’s the 15th right now. Over the last few days I’ve visited school a few times, done lots of Amazon browsing for host-fam gifts and necessities like power converters, gotten the typhoid vaccine, started filling out my college applications, gone to the gym a few times, and a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff. I also went to the library a few days ago and got fifteen books so I’m getting through those one by one.
I’m also watching a lot of the Olympics. It’s like a part-time job. Every night, I bring my laptop in front of my TV so my brother, I, and our dog Schuyler can watch the Olympics together while I multitask. Gosh I don’t even want to add up the total amount of time I’ve watched the Olympics.. probably like 2-3 hours a day oops. NBC does cover the games in a very annoying way with so many of the events being tape delays AND no coverage between 5 and 8 while showing events at like 2 AM when I’m asleep, as well as their… uh, questionable commentary 😦 Anyway, I usually don’t watch sports at all, but I love how for the Olympics it’s by country so I love seeing how each country does and how happy everyone is. Country pride and stuff. It’s also really interesting to me because I always have my laptop or phone next to me when I watch the Olympics, and if a country appears that I don’t know much about, I google the place! I wish they would try to represent the smaller countries more, though—I have pretty mixed feelings about that kind of affirmative action, but many sports in the US reserved for fairly affluent families who can drive their kids to year-round swim practice.
But… I definitely have some regrets about this summer. Like, everything was focused on me, me, me. Governor’s school was a taxpayer-funded experience that was supposed to make me become a better person and learn more. My parents took my brother and me camping and hiking because they wanted to have family bonding time before I leave. And outside of the talking to friends and catching up to people, most of what I’ve done has been focused on my own experiences, from PDO to GSW to even today. Preparing for my year by learning French and Arabic. And thinking about life. I wish I’d been more people-focused. Or that I’d taken more chances.
So, seventeen days until I leave for Rabat, Morocco! Time goes by pretty quickly. I have my travel info now, and I’ll be leaving on September 1st. It’ll be thirty-six straight hours of travel but I like the whole travel process, and of course, seeing people from other countries at the airport.